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Primary Dentition

Have you wondered what it might be? Then wonder no more.  Primary dentition, ever heard of it? Searched for it on Google, perhaps?  Let me tell you what it is. Keep reading. You’re in for a treat.

This term you may or may not have heard before has everything to do with your very first teeth that will erupt into your oral cavity. It’s made up of about 20 teeth that fall under this category. Some also call these the “deciduous teeth”. As your permanent teeth begin to fully erupt, your deciduous teeth then have to decide if they are going to stay or will survive otherwise; many times, they make the decision to fall out or leave their spot.

These teeth exfoliate your true teeth begin to come forward and show themselves. Think of the process when one king begins to rule in place of another, and it’s the same idea here --- ever watch Game of Thrones of Empire? Then you know exactly what I am talking about here.

And in addition, note the fact that your mouth’s central arch generally contains two central incisors, in addition to two lateral incisors, four molars, and two canines. The dentist in charge of your primary dentition care will observe that your teeth, with a mind of their own, are actually recognizable. And here is what I mean….

A bit more on primary dentition

He or she will have no problem recognizing each teeth, even one by one, simply by means of alphabetical letters, beginning with the first one of “A” and moving down. This “A” tooth is the Maxillary right second molar; the alphabet here ends with a “T”, falling on the Mandibular right second molar, in turn. The primary dentition also contains no third molars or premolars.

The exfoliation and eruption phases, respectively, each tend to contain their own dates as well. Typically, people can expect each to occur around the following time frames. That’s how it usually goes…..

More factors to take into account

So to pick up on that last point, let’s start with the first and foremost, maxillary central incisor tooth, which tends to fall out first after about 8 - 12 months. After its eruption, its exfoliation date follows upon an average of 6 - 7 more years. Then we have the lateral incisor, which erupts at about 9 - 13 months and exfoliates at about 7 - 8 years more. And to go “down the full list” and see the succession of all other teeth in the primary dentition, see this source here. 

In addition, here’s some facts that will get your head spinning, but in the good way. We don’t want your head to fall off, unless it’s with good facts. Anyways, enough jokes…..


So, first of all, did you know that girls typically get their teeth before boys do? It’s a fact. In fact, there’s only one small exception to this rule. Can you guess what that might be. If you guessed the first upper molar tends to arrive first among boys, than among girls, then your answer would be correct --- and you would be earning a ticket to the chocolate factory. No, not really --- but it would be cool, right? Nah, what am I thinking ---- chocolate is bad for your teeth anyways…..

Moving onto the next fun little fact in our trivia game --- and I hope you’re still with me at this point --- I bet you can’t guess the correct answer to this next one. Are you ready for it? Here it goes…..

Which teeth in your jaw erupt first, those in the upper portion or those in the lower? If you don’t want a spoiler just yet, then take your guess before reading the next paragraph. Think you’ve got the right answer here? Take a wild guess….. 

All right, so, did you know that (drumroll, please), the mandible (which is made up of the lower jaw’s teeth) will always erupt right before the maxilla (set of all your upper jaw teeth) ever does? It’s true. And there’s more.

Which children, next --- those short or those tall --- tend to experience eruption delays in their primary teeth first? The clock is ticking….have you picked your answer and sealed your fate in this game? The answer is….shorter children, and the delay is only slight, typically. 

Now comes another tricky one on the list. You may get this next one right or wrong. Let’s see….only the next few seconds can tell…..

So, last but certainly not least on our primary dentition trivia questions (and thank you for playing, by the’ve been a great online audience so far….), which patients experience earlier eruptions --- those living in warmer regions or colder regions of the planet? Tick tock, tick tock --- the answer is those living in warmer regions!!!! 

The last thoughts on the matter…

I’ll add in another interesting fact for you to note --- why not? And it’s for free. Sorry, it won’t be in the form of a trivia question, but it may still blow you away to hear…..

That is this: Primary dentition does not always follow the schedule we talked about earlier; sometimes it goes way out of the expected time range, due to what? Well, that would be internal malformations, vitamin or supplement deficiencies, birth abnormalities or other conceptual complications, traumas, infections or even certain metabolic disorders. And either one or all of these that I have just mentioned can, in fact, lead to late or early eruptions, even so on a massive scale. But if this happens, do not worry --- that is why your dental professional is there, to help and point out the progress as it comes. 

So always keep the expected timeframes listed, in mind, for your child. And if eruption or exfoliation seems to be out of the expected range, watch the symptoms. And take your young one to see the dentist as soon as you can! The primary dentition phase is not one to be taken lightly…..